Senior Lecturer in Indonesian and Malay
Academic Staff, Centre of South East Asian Studies
Project Board Member
- Dr Ben Murtagh
- Email address:
- +44(0)20 7898 4248
- SOAS, University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
- Russell Square: College Buildings
- Office No:
- Office Hours:
- Monday 12-1pm/Friday 10-11am (term 1)
I first travelled to Indonesia in 1990 and have been going back ever since. In the 1990s I backpacked across various parts of Indonesia from West Timor to Aceh. I also did quite a lot of cycle touring in Sumatra and Peninsula Malaysia. I still try to return to Aceh as often as possible, but my research interests mean that recently I have spent more time in Jakarta and Surabaya. While I have less spare time now, I still enjoy hiking and trying to get to new places around the archipelago whenever I have the chance.
I started at SOAS as an undergraduate in 1995. I did my BA in History and Indonesian and then continued at SOAS for my MA in Languages and Literatures of South East Asia. My MA dissertation (2000) was a study of the early 19th century poem Syair Perang Inggeris di Betawi, a poem about the British invasion of Java of 1811. I kept with this theme for my PhD (2004), which explored ‘Representations of the British in Traditional Malay Literature’.
More recently my research has focused on genders and sexualities in Indonesian cinema and literature, and my book, Genders and Sexualities in Indonesian Cinema: constructing gay, lesbi and waria identities on screen was published by Routledge in 2013.
From 2014-2015 I was Co-Managing Editor of the journal Indonesia and the Malay World, one of the leading academic journals specialising on the arts and humanities of the region. I still serve on the Editorial Board of this journal. I am currently Book Reviews Editor for the journal South East Asia Research.
I was appointed Lecturer in Indonesian and Malay at SOAS in 2001, and currently teach courses on Indonesian Language, Literature and Cinema. As well as departmental courses I also contribute to courses taught across the school on History, Cinema and Comparative Literature. I am also the convenor of the Indonesian year abroad programme.
I welcome anyone interested in coming to SOAS to study any of these subjects, be it at BA, MA or PhD level, to get in touch to find out more.